One of Cal's main targets in the 2013 recruiting cycle is De La Salle shooting guard Elliott Pitts, and for good reason. As exhibited by players such as Theo Robertson, De La Salle has a history of churning out well-coached, well-disciplined, high IQ basketball players, a tradition certainly furthered by Pitts. After the jump, let's take a look at some tape of Pitts, analyze his strengths and weaknesses, and, finally, take a look at where the Golden Bears stand in his recruitment!
MEASURABLES AND RANKINGS
Weight: 190 lbs.
Positional Ranking: 24
Overall Ranking: 72
Positional Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Positional Ranking: 22
Overall Ranking: 96
Offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Cal Poly, California, Colorado, Gonzaga, Portland, San Francisco, UCSB, Santa Clara, UC Davis, Washington
HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS
BH: De La Salle v Monte Vista 1-31-12 (via calhi20)
Pitts is all over this highlight video from De La Salle's game against Monte Vista this season, which is fitting and to be expected, as he can impact the game in a variety of ways. In the footage of this game alone, we can see Pitts block a shot, hit a couple of three-point jumpers, finish a layup in transition, and dish out a couple of assists. (He finished this particular game with an impressive stat line of 23 points, 6 blocks, and 5 rebounds). The best characteristics with which one could describe Pitts are solid and smart. He won't necessarily be the quickest or most athletic guy on the court at the D1 level, but he plays with an intelligence and poise that will make him an asset to any school lucky enough to obtain his commitment. As put by Joel Francisco of ESPN:
Pitts plays with great pace and he is always on balance (utilizes the jump stop) when converting play after play. He can knock down jump shots from all over the court and he's an excellent driver (solid 1st step) as well. He is one of the few players that have a solid mid-range game too boot and he appears to be getting more confident with each event. In addition, he is one of the few prospects that plays on balance and rarely forces the issue.
Dave Telep furthered this love for the versatility of Pitts after watching him play in a Las Vegas tournament earlier this year:
The cerebral, skilled forwards always carry a premium tag. Pitts isn't a one-trick pony with a single shot. He's a handler, passer and shooter. The great shooters aren't married to a single spot on the floor and Pitts can make shots from midrange and deep. His overall feel for the game is easy to spot and has to be valued. He needs strength to handle versus pressure and play through contact. It's a credit to his game that Pitts is tough to pin down position-wise.
Though, at the moment, Pitts lacks complete consistency with his jump shot (though it is well on its way to being considered elite), it would not be surprising to see him develop into a Theo Robertson-esque contributor at the next level, becoming that clutch player who does all of the little things right and who is a model teammate. De La Salle head basketball coach Frank Allocco is clearly doing things the right way down in Concord, a fact clearly appreciated by the Cal coaching staff, which has added former Spartans such as Brandon Smith and Jeff Powers to the roster most recently.
At the beginning of June, Pitts competed alongside other well-regarded players at the Pangos All-American Camp. Though he did not dominate the camp, Elliott did exhibit some glimpses of his talent, qualifying for the Pangos "Cream of the Crop" Top 40 All-Star game. I asked Josh Gershon of Scout.com what his overall impression of Pitts at the Pangos Camp was, and he responded that he is a "really good shooter and [he has a] high basketball IQ...good size for a SG...I like him".
Finally, though, as mentioned above, the athleticism of Pitts might not be his biggest strength, here's a short, fun little video that exhibits that Elliott is no slouch.
Elliot Pitts Alley-Oop Dunk (via PlayOnNetwork)
RECRUITMENT STATUS/BOTTOM LINE
You have to like Cal's chances the recruitment of Pitts. First of all, Cal was one of his first high-major offers and there are surely more on their way. Pitts claimed in April that Cal, along with Arizona State, was recruiting him the hardest (per Telep). Second, he places great value on education. When asked about what he was looking for in a college, Pitts stated: "I think academics will play a big role in my decision. If I don't play after college I want to know that I will have a good degree." As we all know, Cal fits the bill on that preference. Third, as mentioned above, the Golden Bears have developed a pipeline to De La Salle of sorts, which certainly couldn't hurt. Finally, he is a perfect fit for the system Monty has installed at Cal. The staff can point to the success of a Theo Robertson type player as a model for the development of Pitts in Berkeley.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Pitts visited the Cal campus, along with two other highly regarded recruits, Jabari Bird and Marcus Lee. Though Lee might become more of a long shot as the recruiting process continues, the Golden Bears could perhaps be considered the favorites for Pitts and Bird. Landing local players of this caliber would be crucial to transforming Monty's squad into a national power.
The recruitment of Pitts is not over yet, however. Expect the recruitment of the De La Salle stand-out to really start taking off in the near future, as even more high-majors start taking notice. He will visit Arizona in August and not rush into a decision, so there is reason for Cal fans to get somewhat nervous about this one. Cal fans getting nervous...what a novel concept!